Rishi Sunak accused of ‘ruining lives’ as Spending Review fails to address excluded

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Rishi Sunak has been tasked with tackling the government’s economic response to the pandemic over the last few months. As part of the support offered by the Treasury, packages such as furlough and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) have been organised. Due to the rules associated with the scheme, however, millions of people have found themselves unable to access the support.

The group, commonly referred to as the Excluded, had been hoping to receive further support through the Chancellor’s Spending Review announcement today.

However, Mr Sunak has been criticised for not highlighting the situation those excluded have faced, and failing to offer any further support.

Excluded UK, a community to support the estimated three million people unable to access government support, has condemned the Chancellor’s latest update.

Taking to Twitter, the group expressed displeasure with the lack of focus on excluded groups.

One post read: “Nothing, zero, zilch in the Spending Review from Rishi Sunak for the three million excluded. 

“You have basically just ruined lives.”

The group has now called upon the Chancellor to meet with them for at least 30 minutes to discuss the issues they have faced.

In the Commons, responding to a call to provide support to freelancers and self-employed people with no support specifically, Mr Sunak said various measures had been implemented by the government.

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He commented: “There’s a range of different support we’ve provided, Mr Deputy Speaker.

“Whether it’s loans, whether it is access to our more generous welfare system, or indeed mortgage holidays that one in six mortgage holders used in the end.

“These are all ways that we’ve tried to do our best to provide support to the largest number of people possible.”

Mr Sunak has previously expressed regret that support measures cannot help everyone, but has insisted there are other forms of help made available by the government. 

The Chancellor has come under increased pressure to provide support, going forward and potentially retrospectively, to those excluded from government support measures. 

Recently, an all-party group of MPs wrote a letter to the Chancellor calling for him to fix gaps in the extended support schemes.

Mel Stride, the chair of the committee wrote: “The committee deeply regrets that the concerns in the first report of our inquiry into the economic impact of coronavirus, Gaps in Support, have not been addressed.

“There are still many who are excluded from both these schemes through no fault of their own.”

Reasons for being excluded from government support through furlough and SEISS are wide ranging.

Some excluded individuals include those who are newly self-employed, PAYE freelancers, and those with trading profits over £50,000. 

Express.co.uk has contacted the Treasury for comment on the matter. 

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